Liniers continues his run of clever comics for kids, with a fun adventure and panels full of easy-to-follow action....

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GOOD NIGHT, PLANET

From the Toon, Level 2 series

After a day full of play with her toy fawn, Planet, a little blonde white girl drifts off to sleep—and Planet is off to play for the night.

Once the toy is downstairs, it hears a sound it can’t identify and becomes so frightened it passes out. Coming to, it sees it’s the family dog, a spaniel named Elliot, and though the toy is relieved, the calm doesn’t last long, as Elliot chases Planet and, catching the toy, gives it a playful, vigorous shake. They decide to go to the kitchen for a snack of cookies, where they meet a friendly rat called Bradley, who takes them on a new adventure to capture the biggest cookie they’ve ever seen. After their big adventure, Planet gets a few hours of sleep before they’re up to play again. Liniers has a gift for wordless storytelling through his art-only panels, using muted tones in watercolor under skillfully drawn pen-and-ink lines that create thin outlines and heavy areas of shading. The lettering is distinct and whimsical, and the lines of dialogue are funny, conveying Planet’s personality as patient, kind, and quick-witted. The Spanish-language version, Buenas Noches, Planeta, changes only Planet’s name, and though Liniers is Argentine, the Spanish is not localized to any one dialect, making it an easy inclusion in kids’ libraries and a perfect matched pair for kids who would benefit from the same book in English and Spanish.

Liniers continues his run of clever comics for kids, with a fun adventure and panels full of easy-to-follow action. Delightful. (Graphic fantasy. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943145-20-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Here’s hoping there will be a bunch of Baloney in the future.

BALONEY AND FRIENDS

From the Baloney & Friends series , Vol. 1

A new chapter-book series promises tons of fun for everyone.

Baloney the pig couldn’t be happier about starring in his very own book—until pals Peanut D. Horse, Bizz E. Bee, and Krabbit (a crabby rabbit) crash the introduction, leaving him frustrated. Baloney perseveres and goes on to star in several, short comic book–style stories that often break the fourth wall and that always rely on the very different personalities of the characters to deliver humor. Peanut is a Pollyanna and just a bit daffy. Bizz is a sensible, thoughtful bee-ing. Krabbit is so crabby he’d give Oscar the Grouch a run for his money. Baloney? Well, Baloney is a sensitive sort who, in two longer episodes, wants to entertain his friends with a magic show and join in their fun at swimming. Shorter “mini-comics” between these sections provide good breaks for new readers who are, perhaps, just starting to make their ways through a longer text like this. Pizolli saves the strongest story for last, delivering a sweet and satisfying portrait of Peanut’s kindness to her friend Baloney when he feels blue. And readers needn’t feel blue themselves that the story is over since they can follow handy backmatter instructions to draw their own versions of the simple, line-drawn characters.

Here’s hoping there will be a bunch of Baloney in the future. (Graphic fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-05454-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Another sweet, empathetic day with Benny and Penny.

BENNY AND PENNY IN HOW TO SAY GOODBYE

From the Benny and Penny series , Vol. 6

The sixth title in the Benny and Penny graphic early reader series captures children's transitory emotions with quiet, forgiving humor.

When Benny and Penny find a dead salamander, Penny names it Little Red and insists on a burial, while Benny thinks it's gross. The siblings' contrasting reactions continue throughout the tale. Their “grief” is just as transitory and matter-of-fact as that of the children in Margaret Wise Brown’s The Dead Bird (re-issued with new illustrations by Christian Robinson in 2016), though the comic-book format and Hayes' age-appropriate humor update the story. (Benny, hiding behind a bush, sneezes, causing Penny and her mole friend Melina to check the corpse for signs of life.) Although Penny responds in stereotypical girl fashion, bringing flowers for the grave, Benny expresses emotions too. When they find a living salamander, Benny thinks it's Little Red's ghost, while Penny decides it's Red's sister and names it Paula. Speech bubbles used to tell the story guide readers through the pages, while warm, friendly illustrations reminiscent of another classic, Beatrix Potter, provide detail and humor for new readers to study. Death is an odd subject for a comic for young children, but Hayes handles it well. For newly independent readers, this is an alternative to—not a replacement for—Brown’s classic.

Another sweet, empathetic day with Benny and Penny. (Graphic early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-935179-99-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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